Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

King Abdullah Economic City in Discussions with MIT | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), , recently held discussions with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to help in developing KAEC as the first ‘Smart City’ in the world.

A delegation from MIT met Mr Nidal Jamjoom, Chief Executive Officer, Emaar.E.C to discuss strategies that will shape KAEC as the world’s first truly IT-driven ‘Smart City’. The IT team of Emaar.E.C, led by Omar Al-Khudairi, Senior Manager, the project’s development team and the IT team from Emaar Properties attended the discussions.

KAEC is the single largest private sector development in Saudi Arabia that spreads over 168 million sq m of greenfield land along the Red Sea coast. The project has six key components – a Sea Port, Industrial District, Central Business District featuring a Financial Island, Educational Zone, Resort District and Residential Zone. Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) is the prime facilitator of the project.

“As the world’s first ‘Smart City,’ KAEC ICT will operate as a viable business unit for Emaar.E.C and secure ongoing profits,” said Mr Jamjoom.

“Our association with MIT will serve as a technology telescope for bringing in emerging technologies and roll out ICT solutions that will continue to uphold the status of KAEC as the world’s ‘Smart City’ even after several years,” added Mr Omar Al-Khudairi.

The MIT team will help KAEC integrate all its services through one call centre. “All modern conveniences in telecommunication including mobile connectivity, fibre lines, video conferencing facilities and wireless Internet solutions will be offered at KAEC,” said Mr Jamjoom.

He added: “Other e-driven solutions include e-logistics support of traffic and fleet management; e-security solutions including whole city monitoring; e-commerce facilities; e-media including cable television and electronic billboards; telemedicine facilities; e-education options; smart home integration and e-climate management in the form of smart reactions to city climate. KAEC will also have a wizi feedback module that enables to interact with the environment and people swiftly.”

By integrating IT capabilities in its development, KAEC will become the safest city in the world and also create an R&D environment that will help disseminate new ICT solutions to other regions globally. “The advantage of integrating IT into the project is that it will be one of the most competitive advantages offered by KAEC to investors when they evaluate the potential offered by Saudi Arabia’s special economic zones,” said Mr Al-Khudairi.

The MIT delegation toured the KAEC site in Rabegh. They suggested solutions that further make KAEC an ‘agile’ and ‘quick to react’ city. The team will visit KAEC during the course of construction to implement procedures that make it a ‘Smart City’.